The fantasy worlds have often given us the best memories and fed the analysts with just enough fodder to spin weird theories. But there is only once such mainstream director, who throughout his career, has woven an invisible thread between seemingly unrelated movies, and quietly created a cinematic universe of his own, that too, without the slightest hint of superpowers or magic. Quentin Tarantino is simply the best creative mind in this business currently. He does things in his own sweet will which no other director even dares to attempt. His major trump card is his abundant bounty of characters which he has created with his pen. No other director perhaps has such a plethora of colorful characters with multiple personality layers in them. We, at the Cinemaholic, list out top Quentin Tarantino characters ever.
10. Stephen – Django Unchained
Butlers have somehow managed to create a niche for themselves in the Hollywood cinematic world, thanks to the friendly aide to Batman, Alfred Pennyworth. However the hunching colored butler of Calvin J. Candie of Mississippi’s Candyland strikes terror from his very first appearance. Stephen is dead loyal to his owner and bears an inexplicable hatred towards his own kind. He has eyes and ears all over the place and is the main thorn in Dr. King Shultz’s plan to rescue Broomhilda for Django. His stooping figure, cold dead eyes and evil grin add more menace to his personality and quite easily draws the audience’s hate towards him. Samuel L. Jackson has always been Tarantino’s go-to man for complex roles and none could have essayed Stephen’s character more perfectly than the swashbuckling actor.
It is always a wonder how he had missed up a nomination for this enthralling role. The character of Stephen is grossly underrated too, being constantly overshadowed by the combined flamboyance of Dr. Shultz and Django. But in that short space of time given, Stephen has managed to carve out a genre for the likes of himself. He truly is one of the most colorful characters in Trantino-verse.
9. Bill – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2
If there were any characters in the world of Tarantino who have managed to build up an aura of suspense and terror by just their name, the toss would be for Marcellus Wallace in ‘Pulp Fiction’ and Bill of the ‘Kill Bill’ series. However Bill manages to pip out Wallace in terms of sheer mystery, as the audience doesn’t get to see the enigma until the very end of Vol. 2. The very name of Bill strikes fear in the hearts of every single character Beatrix Kiddo faces in her vengeful journey and only when she meets her ex-husband again does she realize how twisted the assassin lord really is.
It takes someone really venomous to play the role of a calm, doting father while harboring the incentive to kill the innocent child if necessary. If the other assassins gave Kiddo the ultimate test of physicality and warfare, Bill tested her mental resolve right from the point when she was incapacitated during her wedding. The final confrontation between the couple is somehow oddly emotional and the Superman quoting assassin lord met his end with the secretive Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique deployed by Kiddo. Fewer deaths were as satisfying to the audience as Bill’s.
8. Shoshanna Dreyfus – Inglourious Basterds
If Beatrix Kiddo bloodthirsty, katana wielding protagonist in her retribution road in ‘Kill Bill’, Shoshanna Dreyfus is the epitome of calculated revenge in Tarantino’s alternate history tale about the second world war. She was the unwilling mouse in the cat-and-mouse chase initiated by the villainous Col. Hans Landa and barely escaped with her life when Landa’s men wreaked havoc on her family. She is consumed by her desire for revenge and expertly masquerades as a film theatre curator. When the leaderboard of the entire Third Reich decides to visit her theatre for the premiere of the propaganda film Stolz der Nation, she concocts an expert plan to eliminate the entire Nazi fraternity in one blow, unknown to the Basterds.
Shoshanna Dreyfus is courageous, vengeful, clever and bad-ass, the very type of character that can exist in Tarantino-verse. She is the ultimate symbol of a commoner rising against tyranny, and even if the Basterds didn’t exist, she would have toppled the entire Third Reich on her own and ended the Second World War single-handedly. Mélanie Laurent portrays this wonderful woman with perfection, making the French-Jew the symbol of resistance.
7. Mr. Pink – Reservoir Dogs
The self-professed professional is as scrawny as the color given to him. Mr. Pink is street smart, opting to stay out of the Mexican standoff among his other hot headed compatriots and cleverly stashing away the diamonds before appearing at the warehouse. He is brashly outspoken, citing his feelings about tipping in the opening scene and is diplomatically submissive, calming down when told off by the Boss. He is clever enough to analyze his advantages and weaknesses and knows how to squirm out of tight spots. He protests against his faggot like code name but accepts it when he is outnumbered by several.
He is the only major character whose name remains a mystery, staying true to the principles of the mission. He is not feminine as the name would suggest but the scrawny man is the only one in the gang who eventually remains in the ‘pink’ of his health. And yes, never ask him to tip, unless you want to hear a long rant on the subject.
6. Vincent Vega – Pulp Fiction
If there ever was a proper representation of a male bimbo (or himbo), the pony-tailed hit-man younger brother of Vic Vega is the one. Vincent Vega is good looking, stylish and has the wicked charm all around him. He is a stark contrast to his partner Jules, who looks more intent on the job. He has that casual elegance which makes him so likable. He snorts cocaine with élan, has a bad-ass look with his gun but is dumb enough to shoot a man in his face by accident during a normal conversation.
He is stupid enough to leave his gun outside while taking a dump in the house of that very person he had been sent to kill. That mistake proves to be fatal for him though as Butch drills him down. But the younger Vega is one smooth dancer, and the twist scene with Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) at the Jack Rabbit Slims is one of the most iconic moments ever. Vincent Vega is goofy, attractive and bad-ass and John Travolta revived his entire career by stepping into his shoes.
5. Dr. King Schultz – Django Unchained
Only Quentin Tarantino’s brain can bring together the professions of dentistry and bounty hunting into one German individual. Dr. King Shultz is one fantastic personality who travels in a strange caravan across the American countryside, curing teeth and shooting criminals. He dresses sharply, is vastly articulate and has one big heart of gold. He is that sort of person whom the audience have tons of respect for. Mentoring Django, turning him into a freeman and accompanying him in the quest to rescue Broomhilda are some of the many selfless deeds the bearded German did throughout the film.
His brain works faster than the others around him and uses it often to escape out of crunch situations. His flamboyant style and apathy towards slavers makes him even more likable. He shoots the evil Candice with panache, and knowing full well that he can’t escape death, turns to the shocked Django and says, ‘I couldn’t resist’, with that ever persistent twinkle in his eye. Dr. King Shultz is one eccentric man and perhaps the deadliest doctor in the world. Christoph Waltz earned his second Oscar in the Supporting Actor category for this portrayal, his first being another German, but quite different from this burly, amiable bounty hunter.
4. Vic Vega – Reservoir Dogs
From the pack of oddballs clad in sharp black suits, you can identify the oddest of the lot from a mile out. Blonde isn’t a color which can be placed on a pallet, similar to the man who wears this alias. The older Vega brother Vic isn’t someone who works well with a team following a certain set of rules. He is a lone wolf who lets his whims dictate his actions. This heist was no different. In a mission that was originally supposed to go quiet, Mr. Blonde annoyed with the bank manager not obeying his command, turned the entire scene into a bloodbath, beginning a shooting spree and messing the entire heist up.
He turns up at the warehouse coolly like a ghost, lighting a cigarette and appearing calm in midst of a raging storm. He doesn’t regret his actions and takes his cool psychopathy, so reminiscent of the Joker, to the next level when he dances to a K-Billy’s 70’s soundtrack while torturing an abducted, helpless, green cop, slashing his face with a razor and cutting an ear off before proceeding to spray him with gasoline and light him up.
3. Beatrix Kiddo – Kill Bill Vol.1 & Vol. 2
The deadliest female on Earth is one pretty damsel who expertly wields a katana and slashes her way to avenge her ex-husband who had orchestrated her murder on her wedding night. She is the ultimate survivor who woke from a 4-year coma, escaped a head shot and broke out of a grave after being buried alive. Sporting a deadly stare in her eyes, this thin girl slashed and kicked her way out of every obstacle strewn in her way as she undertook the journey of finding and killing the elusive Bill. Apart from being a top class assassin who could literally kick anyone’s ass, Beatrix was a doting mother who unhesitatingly decided to abandon her reckless life to give her daughter a better world to live in.
She was calm when needed and fiery when situation demanded. The 81-on-1 katana duel t O-Ren Rishi’s house is one of the most iconic moments of cinema and gave spaghetti westerns a complete new dimension. Beatrix Kiddo is also solely responsible for making the yellow spandex a fashion trend. Uma Thurman gave the performance of a life time in these two movies proving that old proverb quite emphatically – ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’.
2. Col. Hans Landa – Inglorious Basterds
Fear is an element which many of Tarantino’s plots and subplots had. But none had the cold hearted cruelty and the piercing dangerous eyes as SS Colonel Hans Landa, aka, ‘The Jew Hunter’. Landa specialized in hunting out the Jews in Nazi-occupied France and he did so with a chilling accuracy, employing a Holmesian approach with superb effect. His ability to charm and intimidate people with equal élan made him the most dangerous man in the entire SS regiment. His wit always made him stay at least 10 steps ahead of his opponent, whoever it might be. His multi-linguistic capability was another weapon in his arsenal and used it to great effect, first to lure the hidden Dreyfus family into a false sense of security and then to bamboozle the Basterds at the theatre. He had the tendency to swoop in during moments where something abnormal was being planned, silently like a shadow, and then do the dangerous thing, maintaining his calm demeanor throughout.
In the beginning, it seemed that he was indeed a Nazi loyalist, but later he revealed himself to be a mercenary of sorts, willing to sell his country over to America, provided that his demands were met. This greed led to his downfall though, as he was branded with a swastika by Lt. Aldo Raine. Christoph Waltz was at his finest in this particular role and bagged his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and none deserved the award more.
1. Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction
Vincent Vega’s burger loving partner is the paragon of cool. Jules Winnfield is the ultimate chilled out hit-man you will ever come across. Sporting an afro and trimmed side-burns, Jules swore more than he shot. His sudden realization about God’s miracles after a shootout was the turning point of the whole story and Jules decided to make every moment count. He looked dangerous but his antics were nothing short of hilarious. He was the punchline in this Tarantino’s black comedy. There is no other man who would casually bite into a burger and sip a cola from the man he was sent to kill in the first place. His preaching after his realization to Pumpkin and Honey Bunny at gun point is absolutely iconic.
The assassin dressed in girly shorts and nerdy t-shirt in a diner and preaching the Gospel to a robber couple is a scene worth remembering. And what could be more remarkable than to listen to the man, reciting the self-composed Ezekiel 25:17 right before he pulled his trigger? Jules Winnfield made irony and sarcasm look cool way before a certain Chandler Bing. He is one bad-ass anyone would have in his team. Samuel L. Jackson gave it all for this role and it is a shame he wasn’t acknowledged properly for it. His only reward is the cult status he has gained over the years and in making Jules Winnfield the most iconic character in Tarantino’s universe.
Read More: Every Movie of Quentin Tarantino, Ranked